CMU Daily - on the inside 7 Jan 2004
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Righteous Brother heart attack caused by cocaine
- BBC poll tipping 2004 talent
- Freeview upbeat after pre-xmas sales rush
- Microsoft and Apple race to make digital media moves
- Apple and Napster race for uk market
- Grammys compo confirmed
- Courtney Pine dates
- OfCom publishes 'public interest' draft
- anderson and butler back on speaking terms
- Athlete / Weevil tour
- Britney's ex on their 48 hour marriage
- REM Buck on how long the band will go on
- Morrissey album near completion
- The Music man no Cowell fan
- Plumb debut
- Less Than Jake tour

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NEW YEAR, NEW ADDRESS
Please update your databases and send CDs for review in the CMU Daily and our sister publications to Music Reviews, UnLimited Media, Grampian House, Meridian Gate, London, E14 9YT 

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RIGHTEOUS BROTHER HEART ATTACK CAUSED BY COCAINE
The chief medical examiner of Kalamazoo County in Michigan yesterday told reporters that a post-mortem toxicology report has shown that the heart attack that killed former Righteous Brother Bobby Hatfield was triggered by an "acute cocaine intoxication". An initial autopsy found Hatfield had advanced coronary disease and it was assumed that that caused his heart failure. Chief medical examiner Dr Richard Tooker had listed 'heart attack due to coronary disease' on the singer's death certificate, pending the toxicology report. Given the latest information that will now be changed to to reflect cocaine as the cause of death.

Commenting on the news fellow Righteous Brother Bill Medley told local newspaper The Orange County (California) Register: "This is a shock to me. I never saw him use cocaine. I knew absolutely nothing about it. If I had known, I would have said something to him."

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BBC POLL TIPPING 2004 TALENT
BBCi is currently counting down its top five music tips based on the opinions of a panel of 60 music pundits. A different artist will be revealed each day - then a full top ten will be published on Friday. Organisers of the poll are keen to point out that 50 Cent, Dizzee Rascal, Sean Paul and The Thrills were all in last year's top ten and, sure enough, they all enjoyed a successful 2003. 

So far the survey has tipped 16-year-old Joss Stone - "a combination of a strong, soulful voice with innocent looks and youthful experience that has caused some raised eyebrows in her short career" - and Razorlight - "a band from the punkish, infectious, slightly raucous and very English school of rock that was once mastered by The Clash and The Jam, and has now been revived by The Libertines". 

More bands will be tipped each day this week at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/music

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FREEVIEW UPBEAT AFTER PRE-XMAS SALES RUSH
More upbeat news from the Freeview people, who report that over 200,000 terrestrial digital TV set top boxes were sold in December. Now retailing for less that £60, the pre-Christmas boost in sales means that the terrestrial digital TV service is now in 2.5 million homes. And word is post-Christmas sales are maintaining some momentum.

One of the big winners from the growth of Freeview seems to be BBC 4 - the Beeb's documentary and arts channel. One of the motivations for BBC 4 was that it might attract the sorts of people who would not normally be early adopters for digital technology. That seems to be ringing true as BBC 4's initially disappointing ratings are improving somewhat as Freeview continues to grow.

Whether the popularity of the Freeview system will penetrate enough of the population so that analogue TV signals can be turned off at the end of the decade is still unclear. As previously reported some industry experts are saying it is likely digital set top boxes will have to be subsidised at some point in order to persuade every household to go digital. Others are also pointing out that even in households with digital TV there can be several additional (often older) TV sets which are tuned to analogue - and that many viewers still switch out of digital when they video shows from the main channels or want to access the traditional content rich teletext services. 

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MICROSOFT AND APPLE RACE TO MAKE DIGITAL MEDIA MOVES
While Britney went to Las Vegas in order the break the record of fastest ever pop marriage, the IT industry is in the city this week for the Consumer Electronics Show. The IT conference has something of a music feel to it this year as the major players concentrate their efforts of digital music services and technology. Microsoft's Bill Gates gives the opening address tonight and many are expecting a number of announcements regards the company's intent in the digital media arena - with some rumours that Gates is planning to launch his iPod/iTunes 'spoiler'.

With that in mind Apple yesterday used its own MacWorld event in San Francisco to launch the iPod Mini - a smaller version of the iPod which will retail at least $50 cheaper than the current entry level Apple MP3 player. Apple boss Steve Jobs announced the new product after boasting that his company had shipped 730,000 iPod units in the most recent quarter, giving it the market-leading position among digital music players. This being Apple, style is important - the iPod Mini will be available in silver, gold, blue, pink and green as well as white. 

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APPLE AND NAPSTER RACE FOR UK MARKET
Talking of digital music - the race seems to be on to be the first major player in the legit download sector in the UK. With everyone convinced 2004 will be the year of the download word is Napster and Apple are both rushing in an attempt to enter the UK market first - the former feeling it lost ground by allowing the latter to get to the US market first. A source told Music Week "Napster were beaten to the market in the US and want to get in first in the UK. Their service is very competitive. You can stream whole songs, rather than just excerpts, and it has lots of applications."

Insiders reckon differentiation between digital download services will be key to each company's success as the market place becomes swamped in 2004. Meanwhile Coke's digital download ambitions are creating considerable interest in the marketing world and many expect other brands to follow suit with similar rival services later this year. Rumour has it that, despite sounding disinterested in the download arena last month, Asda may follow its Wall-Mart parent company in the US and launch a mainstream online download service via their website later this year.

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GRAMMYS COMPO CONFIRMED
BMG's Strategic compilations bit in the US have confirmed the line up for the 2004 Grammys album which will feature 21 tracks from the award's nominations list. Coldplay, OutKast, Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z, Sting, Warren Zevon, Eminem, Avril Lavigne, Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Evanescence, Luther Vandross, Missy Elliott, Christina Aguilera and 50 Cent will all appear. The album will be released in the US on 20 Jan. The awards take place on 8 Feb in LA. 

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COURTNEY PINE DATES
Everyone's favourite (surely?) jazz saxophonist Courtney Pine has confirmed the dates for an upcoming UK tour. Support will come from acoustic Mexican group Rodrigo y Gabriela who went down a storm at Glastonbury, Summer Sundae & WOMAD. Dates as follows:

3 Feb: Exeter Pheonix
4 Feb: Oxford Zodiac 
5 Feb: St Albans, The Alban Arena
6 Feb: Liverpool, Philharmonic Hall
7 Feb: Edinburgh, Usher Hall 
8 Feb: Aberdeen, Lemon Tree
10 Feb: Kendal, Brewery Arts Centre
11 Feb: Grimsby, Grimsby Auditorium
12 Feb: Manchester, MDH 
13 Feb: London, Shepherds Bush Empire
14 Feb: Birmingham, The Drum
17 Feb: Milton Keynes, The Stables
18 Feb: Norwich, Waterfront
19 Feb: Cambridge, Corn Exchange
20 Feb: Leicester, De Montfort Hall
21 Feb: Leeds, College Of Music
22 Feb: Brighton, Concorde 2
23 Feb: Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
24 Feb: Cardiff, The Engine Room
25 Feb: Reading Jazz Café
26 Feb: Bristol, Fleece & Firkin

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OFCOM PUBLISHES 'PUBLIC INTEREST' DRAFT
The new media watchdog OfCom has released a draft document on what exactly the phrase 'public interest' means. The document relates to a last minute addition to last year's Communications Act in which is was stated that controversial mergers and/or acquisitions in the media industry could be blocked on the grounds of 'public interest'. The clause is most likely to be used where a merger deal would make both print and broadcast media in any one area dominated by one media player. The document will now be circulated for feedback before being adopted as policy later this year. The changes in media ownership legislation are yet to have any effect on the media landscape in the UK - but that could change in the coming months.

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ANDERSON AND BUTLER BACK ON SPEAKING TERMS
According to the NME, Brett Anderson and ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler have buried the hatchet after almost a decade of not talking to each other. The magazine quotes a source who says they spotted Anderson and Butler in a London bar sharing a drink only days after Suede played that final gig at the Astoria last month: "At around midnight Brett Anderson walked in with Bernard Butler. The two of them sat in a corner with a pint each and put their heads together, deep in conversation. The conversation was very friendly." A band insider has apparently confirmed that the two met socially at the end of last year. The reunion follows reconciliatory comments made by both sides in recent interviews - the former songwriting partners fell out over the production on Suede's 1994 'Dog Man Star' album and haven't spoken since Butler walked out on the band.

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ATHLETE / WEEVIL TOUR
Wichita Recordings Weevil have confirmed they will support Athlete on a tour later this month to promote the release of their 'Splinters' EP, which is due out on 2 Feb. Dates as follows: 

25 Jan: Corn Exchange, Cambridge 
26 Jan: Barbican, York 
28 Jan: Rock City, Nottingham 
29 Jan: Glasgow Academy
30 Jan: Preston Guildhall
31 Jan: Brixton Academy

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BRITNEY'S EX ON THEIR 48 HOUR MARRIAGE
Jason Alexander - last week just an old friend of Britney Spears, and now her ex-husband - has spoken to American TV show Access Hollywood about the duo's spur of the moment wedding. He told the show: "It was just crazy, man. We were just looking at each other and said, 'Let's do something wild, crazy. Let's go get married, just for the hell of it'."

Lucky for Britney, Alexander never had any devious motives for the prank (ie any claim to all that cash). Spears' lawyer David Chesnoff told reporters yesterday: "Jason agreed to the immediate annulment completely. They've made a wise decision. I know they care about each other. They are friends."

Legal people confirmed yesterday that because the legal procedure that ended the 48 hour marriage was an 'annulment' rather than a 'divorce', on paper the wedding never actually took place - a convenient loop hole pretty much exclusive to the Las Vegas legal system!

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REM BUCK ON HOW LONG THE BAND WILL GO ON
Asked in a radio interview last week about the future of REM the band's Peter Buck gave something of a vague answer - "perhaps we'll call it a day next year, perhaps we will never stop". He explained: "Right now I'm thinking it could last for a while. But I also sometimes wake up at four in the morning in a hotel and I can't sleep and I haven't seen my family in a couple of weeks and I just think, 'Ya know I could go home right now and be OK." 

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MORRISSEY ALBUM NEAR COMPLETION
Morrissey is reportedly hard at work finishing his new album 'You Are the Quarry' which is slated for an April release via Sanctuary imprint Attack. According to Morrissey fansite true-to-you.net song titles on the new album include 'I Have Forgiven Jesus', 'Come Back To Camden', 'How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel' and 'I'm Not Sorry'. Morrissey's guitarist and collaborator of some years Boz Boorer has told a different fan site, Morrissey-solo.com, that the album is almost completed - 21 songs have been recorded including five tracks debuted during the 2002 tour. Rumours that the album was being produced by Trevor Horne turned out to be ill-founded and probably came about because Morrisey is recording at Horne's studio, Hook End Manor - Jerry Finn is at the helm.

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THE MUSIC MAN NO COWELL FAN
The Music's frontman Robert Harvey has hit out at the Pop Idol mentality of the music industry. Speaking to the NME he says: "When there's twats like Simon Cowell around, music's going down the pan. It's such a mess at the moment. Cowell claims he's doing something for people, giving them a chance to be famous. But he's stringing all these kids along. He's just lining his pockets, the fucking loser."

Harvey promises his band's new album (they are just about to start work on a follow up to their debut) will be more inspired - explaining his strategy as follows: "We're just going to try and get it done as quickly as possible. We understand that people want to hear new stuff from us. I want to just take a shower and forget about everything. Just use music to clean my mind and pretend I'm just a kid in a band again trying to make tunes for the first time."

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PLUMB DEBUT
Singer-songwriter Tiffany Lee Lee - aka Plumb - will release her debut single 'Real' on Warner imprint Curb Records on 26 Jan. Although not that high profile over here, Plumb's songs have appeared on a number of film and TV soundtracks and releases in the US and SE Asia have been well received -a reworking of her track 'Damaged' by Italian producer Milky was a hit over here too. More info from WEA London press office. 

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LESS THAN JAKE TOUR
Less Than Jake have confirmed seven dates for May - some bigger shows to follow up their critically acclaimed tour and album, 'Anthem', from 2003. Dates as follows: 

22 May: Plymouth Pavillions 
23 May: Cardiff University 
24 May: Leeds University 
25 May: Glasgow Barrowlands 
27 May: Wolverhampton Civic 
28 May: London, Brixton Academy 
29 May: Manchester Apollo

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